Movie Review - Results

I've not seen many films with Guy Pearce but of his films that I have seen, they've mainly been dramatic performances. I've not seen him do many comedies, even though in his serious works, he's demonstrated comedic timing. This film, however, is probably the best expression of his comic chops thus far. Pearce is simply a great actor and is able to adapt or perfectly fit in writer-director Andrew Bujalski's world, which by the end becomes one of the year's best romantic comedies, if not one of the decade's best.

Guy Pearce (Memento and L.A. Confidential) stars as Trevor, the Australian founder and owner of Power 4 Life, a small gym and personal training center in Austin, Texas. He embraces a kind of new-age philosophy about mental and physical fitness. He lives alone with his huge dog, a St. Bernard and he loves to play the drums. He's a bit of a meathead who's not great at running his business, but he dreams of expanding into a larger gym soon.

Kevin Corrigan co-stars as Danny Ross, an odd man who walks into Trevor's gym one day. He's recently inherited a lot of wealth. He now has all this money and no one with whom to share it, so he's just wandering and throwing cash away in various ways, but he is a bit out of shape and thinks changing that might help.

Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother and The Avengers) also co-stars as Kat. She's an ambitious, personal trainer who catches wind of Danny and his money, and wants to be his trainer. She's perhaps a little too ambitious, too business-minded, and gung-ho about fitness that it has made her a bit hardened, maybe too hardened, and a bit closed-off to certain people, particularly men.

This comedy, unlike most, doesn't really rely on huge, comic set-pieces. As most comedies should, it relies on the interactions between people, often awkward or just weird contentions and battles that are blown out of proportion. Each scene is this and each is funny and works, even if you're not sure where it's going.

Bujalski does this by abruptly cutting or making hard-edits between scenes when you're not expecting it. He also allows scenes to keep going longer than they should or longer than most, with the exception of Judd Apatow, would. You think a scene is going to end, but it keeps going and winds up landing on a funnier place than it started.

Again, it goes back to comedic timing. Bujalski has it here, and he knows how to play or control it. It also means allowing his actors to play and control it, and all of his leads do so terrifically. I loved the relationships between them all. Even the supporting characters who only had a couple of scenes were great too.

Anthony Michael Hall plays Grigory, a kettleball guru with some kind of Russian or Eastern European accent who is a kind of mentor to Trevor. Giovanni Ribisi plays a shady lawyer whom Danny meets at a bar while looking for weed. Tishuan Scott plays Lorenzo, a black, bisexual gigolo and personal trainer. They're all terrific in what they bring.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated R for language, some sexual content and drug use.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 44 mins.


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